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SPECIES:  Carex stricta
Upright sedge. Image by Robert H. Mohlenbrock, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.


SPECIES: Carex stricta
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Coladonato, Milo 1994. Carex stricta. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. ABBREVIATION: CARSTR SYNONYMS: Carex stricta var. strictior Dewey [13,28] Carex strictior Dewey NRCS PLANT CODE: CAST8 COMMON NAMES: upright sedge tussock sedge TAXONOMY: The scientific name of upright sedge is Carex stricta Lam. (Cyperaceae) [13]. Upright sedge hybridizes with many other Carex species [4]. LIFE FORM: Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Carex stricta
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Upright sedge occurs from Newfoundland south to the Carolinas and Tennessee and from Manitoba south to eastern Oklahoma and Texas [12,14,19,20].
Distribution of upright sedge. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. [2018, September 27] [27].
   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
   FRES39  Prairie
   FRES41  Wet grasslands

     AR  CT  DE  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  ME  MD
     MA  MI  MN  MO  NE  NH  NJ  NY  NC  ND
     OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  VT  VA
     WV  WI  WY  MB  NB  NF  NS  ON  PE  PQ

   10  Wyoming Basin
   14  Great Plains
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

   K064  Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass
   K067  Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass
   K073  Northern cordgrass prairie
   K074  Bluestem prairie
   K079  Palmetto prairie
   K081  Oak savanna
   K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100
   K084  Cross Timbers
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K099  Maple - basswood forest
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K101  Elm - ash forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K103  Mixed mesophytic forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest

     1  Jack pine
    14  Northern pin oak
    15  Red pine
    16  Aspen
    17  Pin cherry
    20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple
    21  Eastern white pine
    22  White pine - hemlock
    23  Eastern hemlock
    24  Hemlock - yellow birch
    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
    26  Sugar maple - basswood
    32  Red spruce
    42  Bur oak
    44  Chestnut oak
    46  Eastern redcedar
    51  White pine - chestnut oak
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    55  Northern red oak
    62  Silver maple - American elm
    64  Sassafras - persimmon
    70  Longleaf pine
    81  Loblolly pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
   110  Black oak

Upright sedge is a moist-site species [19].  It is often dominant in
meadows in New England and the upper Midwest [7,22].  Upright sedge also
occurs in moist forest communities [23,31].

Common associates of upright sedge include blueberries (Vaccinium spp.),
huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.), common winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
bog rush (Juncus effusus), bog Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum),
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii
var. gerardii), bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), and other
sedges (Carex spp.)  [3,7,15,17].


SPECIES: Carex stricta
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY: NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE: NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE: NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: Upright sedge established well in constructed wetland in Massachusetts. It became dominant 1 to 2 years after construction [32]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Shrub invasion is altering sedge meadows in Wisconsin that contain upright sedge.  Invaded areas were consistently wetter than uninvaded sedge meadows [29].


SPECIES: Carex stricta
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upright sedge is a rhizomatous sedge reaching a height of about 3 feet (1 m) [16].  The long narrow leaves are 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) wide and about 2.5 feet (75 cm) long [19].  The wirelike rhizomes are usually found in the top 6 inches (15 cm) of the soil and are variable in length [5].  The fruit is an achene [14]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES: Upright sedge regenerates primarily through rhizomes.  Two types of rhizomes are distinguished.  Long rhizomes branch and produce distant plants.  Short rhizomes produce culms just offset from the parent [5]. Propagation:  Propagation tests for upright sedge in Wisconsin showed variable results.  Seeds collected and planted within 2 weeks in 1988 were compared with seeds collected in 1987 and held in cold storage for 1 year.  Germination rates for seeds collected and planted in 1988 were 70 to 95 percent; 1-year-old seeds showed less than 15 percent germination.  These results indicated that seeds should be planted while still fresh, preferably within a week or two following harvest [1]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Upright sedge is found in bogs, wet meadows, floodplains, swales, marshes, and wet woodlands. It is found in areas where the soil is at or just above the water level [5,12]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Upright sedge is shade intolerant hydro-successional species in the sedge meadow community [5,17,26].  The sedge community is preceded by an emergent marsh community of reeds (Phragmites spp.) and/or cattails (Typha spp.)  where the water is above the soil.  The sedge community is followed by a shrub community of willows (Salix spp.), dogwoods (Cornus spp.), and/or alders (Alnus spp.) as drier conditions are produced [5]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Depending on site, upright sedge flowers from late May to mid-June.  The fruit ripens in August [8,17].


SPECIES: Carex stricta
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: The rhizomes of upright sedge make it resistant to fires that burn little of the soil organic layer.  Fire is important to the maintenance of the sedge meadow community where upright sedge grows [5,6].  It is a natural feature of this environment and prevents the encroachment of shrubs and trees.  The wet habitat usually protects the roots and rhizomes from fire.  During severe droughts or when the meadows have been partially or completely drained, however, fire has serious effects. Underlying peat beds may ignite and smolder for long periods of time Such fires can destroy roots of most plants.  By lowering the meadow surface and reducing plant cover, such fires may also convert a sedge meadow to an emergent marsh community [5,10]. Upright sedge probably colonizes burned areas by seeds and rhizomes. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY:    Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil


SPECIES: Carex stricta
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Fires that occur when meadows are moist or wet probably top-kill tussock sedge.  The rhizomes are probably killed by severe fires that remove most of the soil organic layer [5]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Upright sedge is typically an increaser following fire.  In a study on the effects of burning on sedge meadows in Wisconsin, upright sedge was found to occur at higher numbers on burned areas than on unburned areas [29].  A spring fire was set in 1973 in Ontario to study the short-term response of the shrub and herb layers.  Upright sedge had already emerged at the time of the fire.  Percent cover of upright sedge was similar in control and burned plots that summer.  Later-emerging associated species, however, showed more vigorous postfire growth; the initially lower cover of upright sedge may have been due to fire damage to early spring growth.  At postfire month 15, upright sedge cover was significantly (p=0.05) greater on burned plots than on unburned plots [23]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Carex stricta
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION: Coladonato, Milo, compiler. 1994. Effect of prescribed burning on upright sedge in quaking aspen woodlands in southern Ontario. In: Carex stricta. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. REFERENCES: James, T. D. W.; Smith, D. W. 1977. Short-term effects of surface fire on the biomass and nutrient standing crop of Populus tremuloides in southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 7: 666-679. [33]. Smith, D. W.; James, T. D. W. 1978. Changes in the shrub and herb layers of vegetation after prescribed burning in Populus tremuloides woodland in southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 1792-1797. [23]. Smith, D. W.; James, T. D. 1978. Characteristics of prescribed burns and resultant short-term environmental changes in Populus tremuloides woodland in southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 1782-1791. [31]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION: Spring/Low STUDY LOCATION: The study was conducted at the Mullin Tract in West Luther Township, Wellington County, Ontario. PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY: The prefire vegetation was dominated by an open stand of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) (164 stems/ha, average d.b.h. 14 cm) with red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) in the shrub layer.  The herb layer was codominated by upright sedge (Carex stricta) and bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis). TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE: No specific information was given on the phenological state of tussock sedge but it was probably in a preflowering condition during these spring fires.  SITE DESCRIPTION: The site is at an elevation of 1,221 feet (470 m).  Mean total precipitation is 35.4 inches per year (885 mm/yr), the average length of the growing season is 116 days, and the July mean daily temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 deg C).  The study was located on poorly drained, organic muck soils approximately 1 foot (3 m) in depth.  The area had generally low relief but consisted of a mosaic of hummocks and hollows, the latter filled with standing water in the early spring. FIRE DESCRIPTION: Burn              Wind      Relative    Ambient    Dead fuel     Reaction   plot   Date       speed     humidity      temp     combusted     intensity                  (m/min)      (%)       (deg C)     (g/sq m)   (kw/sq m/min)                                                      1      5/8/72     91.7        56         14         674.7           509 2      5/8/72     87.4        58         15         750.4           375 3      4/24/73    43.5        72         13         756.2           569 4      4/24/73    68.7        43         15         651.1           489 Standard deviations are reported for wind speed, fuel combustion, and reaction intensity data [2]. Fuel moisture content was "generally high" on the treatment plots in both 1972 and 1973 and evidently tended to reduce fire intensity.  The pattern of burning in both years was heterogeneous.  This was related to the uneven microtopography and patchy distribution of fuel prior to the fires.  Areas dominated by upright sedge had large amounts of surface litter and standing dead material and consequently were the most thoroughly burned. FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES: Short-term postfire response of upright sedge after light prescribed surface fire in trembling aspen woodlands were as follows:                Percent abundance   Percent frequency Burned 4/73          43.5                87.5 Burned 5/72          70.0                96.0 Control              54.0                83.5 Abundance of burned and control populations was not significantly different (p=0.05) at postfire year 1.  Growth of the burned population may have been affected by scorch or by increased competition from bluejoint reedgrass.  Upright sedge was substantially more abundant in the plots measured 15 months following fire. FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Carex stricta
REFERENCES:  1.  Apfeelbaum, S. I.; Leach, M.; Baller, R. 1989. Report propagation        results for Carex spp., other wetland species (Wisconsin). Restoration        and Management Notes. 7(1): 38-39.  [8064]  2.  Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals,        reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's        associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO:        U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p.        [434]  3.  Bray, William L. 1920. The history of forest development on an undrained        sand plain in the Adirondacks. Syracuse, NY: New York State College of        Forestry. 47 p.  [21340]  4.  Cayouette, J.; Catling, P. M. 1992. Hybridization in the genus Carex        with special reference to North America. Botanical Review. 58(4):        351-440.  [20465]  5.  Curtis, John T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The        University of Wisconsin Press. 657 p.  [7116]  6.  Davis, Anthony M. 1979. Wetland succession, fire and the pollen record:        a Midwestern example. American Midland Naturalist. 102(1): 86-94.        [7311]  7.  Dunlop, D. A. 1987. Community classification of the vascular vegetation        of a New Hampshire peatland. Rhodora. 89(860): 415-440.  [20275]  8.  Eckardt, Nancy A.; Biesboer, David D. 1988. Ecological aspects of        nitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction) associated with plants of a        Minnesota wetland community. Canadian Journal of Botany. 66: 1359-1363.        [14893]  9.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905] 10.  Frolik, A. L. 1941. Vegetation on the peat lands of Dane County,        Wisconsin. Ecological Monographs. 11(1): 117-140.  [16805] 11.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998] 12.  Godfrey, Robert K.; Wooten, Jean W. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of        southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Athens, GA: The University of        Georgia Press. 933 p.  [16907] 13.  Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of        northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New        York Botanical Garden. 910 p.  [20329] 14.  Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains.        Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p.  [1603] 15.  Hotchkiss, Neil; Stewart, Robert E. 1947. Vegetation of the Patuxent        Research Refuge, Maryland. American Midland Naturalist. 38(1): 1-75.        [22000] 16.  Knobel, Edward; Faust, Mildred E. 1980. Field guide to the grasses,        sedges and rushes of the United States. 2d rev. ed. New York: Dover        Publications, Inc. 83 p.  [14744] 17.  Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological        perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p.  [19377] 18.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation        of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York:        American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384] 19.  Magee, Dennis W. 1981. Freshwater wetlands: A guide to common indicator        plants of the Northeast. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.        245 p.  [14824] 20.  Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of        the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of        North Carolina Press. 1183 p.  [7606] 21.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 22.  Reuter, D. Dayton. 1986. Effects of prescribed burning, cutting and        torching on shrubs in a sedge meadow wetland. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed.        Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a        symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI:        University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science        Center: 108-115.  [16278] 23.  Smith, D. W.; James, T. D. W. 1978. Changes in the shrub and herb layers        of vegetation after prescribed burning in Populus tremuloides woodland        in southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 1792-1797.  [16400] 24.  Standley, Lisa A. 1989. Taxonomic revision of the Carex stricta        (Cyperaceae) complex in eastern North America. Canadian Journal of        Botany. 67: 1-14.  [22093] 25.  Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern        Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire        Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p.  [20090] 26.  Tiner, Ralph W. 1991. The concept of a hydrophyte for wetland        identification. Bioscience. 41(4): 236-247.  [16878] 27.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2018. PLANTS Database, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (Producer). Available: [34262] 28.  Voss, Edward G. 1972. Michigan flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and monocots.        Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI:        University of Michigan Herbarium. 488 p.  [11471] 29.  Warners, David P. 1987. Effects of burning on sedge meadow studied        (Wisconsin). Restoration & Management Notes. 5(2): 90-91.  [3821] 30.  Marshall, William H.; Buell, Murray F. 1955. A study of the occurrence        of amphibians in relation to a bog succession, Itasca State Park,        Minnesota. Ecology. 36(3): 381-387.  [16690] 31.  Smith, D. W.; James, T. D. 1978. Characteristics of prescribed burns &        resultant short-term environmental changes in Populus tremuloides        woodland in southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 1782-1791.        [15114] 32.  Jarman, Nancy M.; Dobberteen, Ross A.; Windmiller, Bryan; Lelito, Paul.        1991. Evaluation of created freshwater wetlands in Massachusetts.        Restoration & Management Notes. 9(1): 26-29.  [15414] 33.  James, T. D. W.; Smith, D. W. 1977. Short-term effects of surface fire        on the biomass and nutrient standing crop of Populus tremuloides in        southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 7: 666-679.        [6933]

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